They say January is like the Monday of the year. Getting back to work or school after the Yuletide and New Year’s revelries feels very much like the Monday following a weekend spent partying. This is when you need to pack up the Christmas decorations, catch up on the work stuff leftover from last year, and in some cases, nurse a throbbing hangover.
We can’t really help you with the previous two, but the third is a whole different story. Personally, I don’t drink alcohol, but some of my colleagues (hello, guys) here on iRemit have their own ways of dealing with the consequences of imbibing just a little too much.
Technically, the only real cure for a hangover is time (you’ll need to wait for it to pass), but there are quite a few things you can do to speed up your recovery:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Alcohol is a diuretic (i.e., something that makes you pee a lot), so you lose a lot of liquid when you drink, ironically. This is largely responsible for the hangovers you get afterwards, so the key is to replace lost fluids.
Fresh coconut juice is good because it has a lot of electrolytes for boosting your body’s hydration levels, but nothing beats plain old water. Keeping a tall bottle of it by the bedside makes it a lot easier for you to hydrate upon waking, so be sure to fill one up while you’re still sober.
2. Take the right painkillers.
Knock back some paracetamol to ease your throbbing head. Aspirin and ibuprofen are also effective, but they can wreak havoc on an upset stomach and make you feel more nauseated if you take the wrong dose.
3. Eat something.
You might feel like you’ll throw up anything that makes it past your lips, but your body needs proper nutrients if it is to recover properly.
Some people swear by an old-fashioned plate of bacon and eggs (because bacon makes anything better), and the taurine in the latter can help reverse the liver damage wrought by alcohol. However, the fats in this dish can also irritate your stomach lining, so you can opt for safer options like oatmeal or whole wheat toast and crackers if you’re feeling queasy.
4. Lay off the coffee (and the hair of the dog).
Caffeine addicts might be dying to take their first sip of this aromatic beverage the morning after, but coffee will just make things worse. Like alcohol, it’s also a diuretic, so your body will keep losing fluid and your head will keep pounding if you insist on your early-morning Starbucks.
And drinking the same thing that caused your hangover might put it off for a few more hours, but that will just aggravate the symptoms because let’s face it, no one can keep drinking forever. (That is not a challenge, by the way.)
5. Stand under the shower.
If you can manage it, drag your hungover butt to the bathroom and let the cool water wash over your entire body for a few minutes. Provided that you didn’t go overboard with the shower heater, the refreshing stream of water ought to provide blissful relief.
Now, if you’ve got vomit in your hair from last night’s partying, this might be a good time to wash that off too.
6. Hit the snooze button.
If the hangover has pretty much rendered you useless for the rest of the day, you may as well just sleep it off. The extra hours of rest will help your body recuperate and will make up for the sleep disruptions that alcohol tends to cause.
Just make sure you’re covered at work and that you don’t pull a stunt like this too often or you won’t have a need for that snooze button at all, if you know what I mean.
No, I don’t mean an entire CrossFit session (seriously, show me a hungover dude or dudette who can still do that).
A few gentle exercises like stretching or brisk walking ought to rejuvenate your mental state and pump endorphins into your system to brighten things up. Do tag along your water bottle so you can keep hydrating on the trail.
8. Wear sunglasses.
Bright lights are torture to anyone who’s ever experienced a raging hangover. If you must go out (e.g., for exercise), slip on those Ray-Bans to protect your eyes (and your sanity) before heading out into the world. Your pounding head will thank you.
Nursing a hangover may make you want to swear off alcohol for life, but no one ever actually follows through on that. If you want a more realistic solution, you can start to do a little damage control while indulging in alcohol. Eating solid food and alternating sips of non-alcoholic beverages (nix the carbonated ones, though) with those Jaegermeister shots can greatly decrease your chances of a hangover.